Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Justice League vs The Fatal Five Review


It’s time to look at a pretty new Justice League film. This title finally brings us back to the legendary DCAU so right away you know you’re in for a good time. It does a good job of really feeling like a long awaited sequel and this one can definitely hold its own in this esteemed continuity. Naturally it’s no Starcrossed or anything like that, but it’s a great nostalgia film. We have solid action scenes, writing is on point as always, etc. It’s a film that also has very solid replay value.

The movie starts off with Star Boy attempting to stop the Fatal Five. Unfortunately they are simply too strong and make it to the teleporter. In a last act of defiance Star Boy is able to finish the time shutdown so they are frozen in time as the orb crashes in the present. Star Boy also lands on Earth, but his medicine was destroyed so now his mind is slowly deteriorating. The cops catch him and he gets locked up in Arkham. Almost a year passes and the Justice League accidentally awaken the villains. They’re ready to fight but the only way to victory may be to get Star Boy on their side!

Meanwhile, Jessica Cruz has been having a lot of trouble adjusting to her new role as Green Lantern. She managed to survive a traumatic experience against a crazy gunman and the experience left her mentally scarred. She is now scared to even go outside some days and since her GL powers run on willpower, it’s a tough job for her. Still, the decision is taken out of her hands when it turns out that the Fatal Five are after her. She can let the Justice League fight them off for her or she can join in the fight and take them down. The decision is hers, but it is one that will have strong consequences.

Right away you may wonder how the Fatal Five can last more than 5 minutes against the League. It’s a fair question as they’re hitting way above their weight class here. Realistically the Fatal Five can’t do much against the League, but to even the odds the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter do not appear in this film. You’ve got Star Boy and Jessica, but neither one of them do much helping til we get to the second half of the film. As a result it’s really Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman who have to handle the villains. Often times they aren’t fighting at the same time as well. There are still a lot of significant power level issues, but those are almost expected at this point. Superman gets wrecked pretty easily by these guys and then later on one of them is going even with Wonder Woman.

The Fatal Five aren’t weaklings or anything, but they’re definitely not quite as strong as you’d think from watching their fights. The heroes also have to be a little nerfed here because part of the point is that Jessica needs to be the one to conquer her fears. You can probably see the character arc coming from a mile away, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad one. She certainly gets a solid role in the final fight, but it makes sense since a good GL should be able to take care of these guys. I’d just make the case that Superman or Wonder Woman should have been able to accomplish something similar. Power level concerns don’t really hurt the experience. You may roll your eyes but barring something totally crazy it doesn’t hurt the score.

While Superman did get steamrolled I did like the way he fought here. It may seem like a bit of a contradiction but before going down Superman was doing a good job of knocking one opponent, dodging a counter attack, hitting opponent #2, etc. He was rarely going down to surprise attacks and was just getting hit by combos. It’s a subtle distinction that is good to make as it’s more annoying when he’s just giving opponents his back the whole time. I mean, I like the confidence, but it doesn’t work if he’s actually taking damage. Batman also looks real solid here as expected. He’s naturally the one finding things out in the background and whenever he does enter into a fight the outcome is clear. He crushes all of his opponents with ease and certainly stays cool under pressure. He does a good job of co-leading the team with Superman in the DCAU. Batman may never claim to be the leader, but the others listen when he has something to say.

Wonder Woman’s role may not feel as big as the other two, but she certainly looks good as well. Attacking Jessica may have been a little extreme, but I suppose it got the job done. She always fights very tactically such as when one of the Fatal Five tries to use her own lasso against her and WW just flips the tables on him. She uses a lot of athletics in her combat and the style seems like a mix of Superman’s and Batman’s. It’s still a little unfortunate we couldn’t see the other Leaguers, but I’m sure they’ll get their chance in the future.

As for the new heroes we have 3 to talk about. First off is Star Boy and I admit that I wasn’t a big fan of his character. At first I actually figured he was Cosmic Lad. The outfit was different, but it was filled with Stars and he kept seemingly manipulating metal at the beginning. Now I’m glad he wasn’t Cosmic Lad. He acts pretty scatter brained the whole film. There is a logical reason for this as he needs a certain chemical to stay sane, but it still makes his scenes pretty annoying. He just can’t seem to remember anything except for when it’s already too late. that’s certainly not too helpful you must admit. His powers are definitely cool though, making things heavy is definitely good enough to stop most opponents. Gravity manipulation is a very underrated ability.

Miss Martian is a new Justice League member in training and I can see why she isn’t a full member yet. She very nearly blows the whole situation in her first scene where innocents would have died. The whole thing doesn’t make any sense either since she gets real close to the villain, but stays in disguise until he whips out the gun and starts yelling. With her super strength and speed from that distance she should have been able to easily disarm him and keep going. Instead she also gives away Batman’s location. She’s pretty much a non factor for most of the film as well. She seems nice enough, but needs to keep working on how to be a hero.

Finally we have Jessica who is pretty reasonable. By the end of the film she has finally accepted herself as a hero. Her early scenes can be a bit more grating with all the self doubt, but at least she did jump in to save her town when necessary. She seems to have a lot more trouble getting started than freezing up which is good. Once she’s made a decision she does see it through. Jessica is the kind of character who will really benefit from the events of this film as she will now be a capable warrior in the sequel. The Green Lantern core is certainly pretty stacked as well since Hal, John, and Kyle are all excellent GL fighters as well. With Jessica on the team they barely even need the rest of the Justice League.

As for the Fatal Five, there isn’t quite as much to say about them. They make for a pretty good villain group. I like all of the members well enough and they gave us the team vs team fights which is always a good positive. We don’t get to see the final two members quite as much as the first 3, but they do look good once they show up. Their plan shouldn’t have gone quite as smoothly as it did though. You’ll likely see what I mean when you watch the film. They head over to OA to get the final two members and the Green Lanterns there don’t seem to have any kind of good plan. They should have jumped in before the gate was opened and then a lot of things would have been prevented. Ah well.

As expected the animation is pretty sharp here. The character designs are absolutely on point and it looks as good as ever. Now this is the kind of animation that lets you know DC is still on point. It’s not surprising as their films always tend to look amazing. If only Marvel could keep this up on their side. There’s a lot of reasons why the animation is so solid for DC, but a good part of it is the color schemes and effects they use. The attacks all have a lot of power behind them and the color stands out. They also speed up the fights quite a bit so when characters are engaged in a scuffle they’re all zipping around the place. It’s a great way to handle a good fight scene and the action here is definitely top notch. Another fun visual is when Superman zips towards the sun. His speed is definitely uncanny and to even come close to a light speed laser that already has a head start is a good feat.

While this is the DCAU, the film does try to make it clear from the start that it’s gonna still be a little more violent than the old days. Pretty much every random human who gets involved is quickly murdered and several heroes get stabbed and bleed out quite a bit. It never gets too excessive the way the New 52 films started out or other recent adventures. It’s just low enough where it doesn’t hurt the film but a little more and I think the film would have been trying too hard. The only visual that lingers is the store owner who gets murdered while the rest are pretty quick. It’s definitely all unnecessary so hopefully they keep a close eye on this for other DC films going forward.

Overall, Justice League vs The Fatal Five certainly delivers on all fronts. It’s an excellent Justice League title whether you’re already a big fan of the DCAU or this is your first experience. The writing is always on point and the cast of characters is excellent. It’s rare to have a film that basically has no weaknesses, but this is one of them. There’s a lot happening here from start to finish. Hopefully this really is just the first of many for the DCAU’s continuation saga. I’m ready to relive the golden days of comic book shows!

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Teen Titans Go! To The Movies Review


It’s time to look at the Teen Titans GO! movie that came out recently. I’ve watched the show ever since its beginning and it’s always been very hit or miss. It can have some decent episodes and then it can have some truly terrible ones. As a result the show is leaning towards a negative rating at the moment, but of course things can certainly change by the end. With a film I figured the writers would try to be on their best behavior and come up with a good story so as not to embarrass its viewers. Well, the movie is a considerable step up and I can happily say that it was a quality movie. I was worried for a little while, but it all turned out okay.

The film starts with the Teen Titans being mocked by the Justice League. While Robin and co. aren’t thrilled about this it’s hard to deny that the League have a lot more going for them. They’ve got big budget films on their resume while the Titans haven’t got a clue. Robin decides that the only way their group will ever be respected is if they get a big budget movie. They head over to Jade Wilson to plead their case but she explains that she’ll never make a film about them. The only way around this is if the Titans can get rid of all other heroes or finally get an arch nemesis. Both options will be tough for these guys, but Robin knows that it’s time to step up. Can the team do it?

Slade gets a pretty big role here as you’d expect since he is easily the Titans’ most iconic villain. This film is the first time they’ve met in Go continuity so it was nice to see him arrive. He’s played in a much more comedic light here as you’d probably expect. It may take a little while to get used to him since his “Mind Manipulation” gimmick isn’t quite as humorous as most of the other Titans. Still, he does give us a pretty good twist by the end (Well, if you’ve read the comics you might not be fooled but the twist works to an extent regardless because there are two routes that the movie could have went with) and he can certainly fight. I was glad to have him on board here.

Where the film excels is naturally in the writing/humor. See, typically the issue with the series is that the humor is cringy instead of funny. Usually it’s very crude or just flat out gross. This film rarely goes there and instead the humor is in how crazy the Titans are and how unprofessional the team can be. A good example of humor is how the Titans go around preventing everyone’s origin. The humor can also be a bit dark in how they have to murder some people without going too far into dicey territory. As I mentioned the only gag that drags on is Slade’s. (Saying his name gets old as well) When Slade isn’t around the rest of the humor is fast and to the point.

I also liked the film’s soundtrack. Some of the songs were meant to be parodies of course, but they still worked very well with or without context. Robin’s song about being a real hero was awesome. Likewise I really enjoyed the Teen Titans opening song that was also used during the climax. It’s really impressive just how good the song is honestly. It’s the kind of song you could actually listen to in a serious context and still enjoy it. It helps that the graphics for both scenes with the song were quite impressive. It started the film out on a high note and right away you could tell that it was a bit of a step up from the show. Even the animation was quite on point here. While the style isn’t really different from the show, there is a lot more movement so I imagine that the animators had to use many extra frames. It allows for better visual gags and some nice action scenes as well. On a technical level the film had no issues and since the writing was solid as well you can see how this film got off on the right foot.

As far as the main characters go, Robin is certainly the best hero just like you would expect. He actually knows how and when to get serious unlike the rest of the heroes. He got the team their opportunity to get a movie and didn’t mess it up unlike the others. He really wants to be a good crime fighter and is just held back by the others. I’d go as far as to say that without the others he would have already had his movie. Still, he’s pretty patient with the other titans and has all the qualities of a good leader. Unfortunately the other four don’t look very good here. They actively try to wreck his movie in a fit of jealousy and rage. You could argue that it is quite personal since right after Jade tells the Titans to stop goofing around they immediately did the opposite. I think the implication here is that they didn’t like the way she said it, but it’s still awful petty of them. Cmon now guys. You really feel bad for Robin the whole time and even if he does get suckered by the end you can’t blame him for trying. This was his life’s dream and he may not have gotten the opportunity again otherwise. You go Robin!

Another strong area in the film is its ever changing plot. While getting a movie is the main focus of course the film goes into a few different segways where you think it may spend a lot of time doing something only to refocus. A good example of this is the heroes deciding to go back in time to change the superhero origins of the League to replace them. You’d expect this to be the bulk of the plot in any other movie but here this montage only lasts for a little while before the Titans go with plan B. I think that plot could have been its own movie as well, but the film could have potentially locked itself in a bit since then it would become a bit more predictable as to what would happen next. It still worked for the quick gags though. There’s just a lot happening in this film throughout and it has the kind of energy that you want to see in a movie like this. It embraces how crazy it is and ultimately ends up being the definitive comedy DC film.

Of course this wouldn’t be a true comic book film without a post credits scene right? It hints at a future project to come if you take the scene at face value. Honestly I wouldn’t have taken it very seriously myself since it would be the ultimate gag to get everyone’s hopes and dreams up. Of course, we do have a rumored crossover film coming up which is similar to a direct sequel so I guess in a way that does lend some credibility to the scene. Regardless it is a pretty fun scene though and one that I’m sure you’ll have fun with.

Overall, Teen Titans Go! really surprised me with this one. The humor is just so much better than you would have expected based on the show. We’ve gotten glimpses of what the show could be like from time to time, but to actually pull this off for over an hour straight? I couldn’t help but be impressed. Aside from the Slade humor being a bit weak I can’t think of any negatives for this film. Even if you haven’t seen the show before now I highly recommend checking this film out. It’s just a lot of fun and all you need is a basic understanding of DC comics or at least the comic book movie industry to really get into what’s happening here. Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to accept Robin as a real hero!

Overall 7/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Swamp Thing Review


It’s time to look at an old school DC film. This movie doesn’t really feel like your average comic book film and could easily be mistaken for just being another horror film. That would probably be the best outcome for all parties involved since I doubt anyone wants to take credit for this movie. It just isn’t good and does so many things wrong that you’ll end up wondering what the film was thinking. The characters aren’t very smart and so it’s hard to root for anyone.

The film starts off with the main character, Alice heading over to the Swamp. She is here to fix some sensors, but the broken sensors were sabotaged by terrorists so she isn’t allowed to go near them. Since she has nothing else to do she hangs around the pair of scientists who are trying to make some breakthroughs and insults them the whole time. The main guy is married, but seems to forget this all the time so all scenes with him are cringe worthy. That’s when the villains come in and murder the two scientists in the hopes of getting their research. Alice managed to snatch one book though so their collection won’t be complete. The villains don’t like that and decide to give chase, but they have one more obstacle to try and get past, The Swamp Thing!

The film doesn’t exactly hide the Swamp Thing’s identity, but I won’t allude to it in case you need that reveal. Needless to say, The Swamp Thing is here to help. “This is My Swamp!” should have been his opening line but he’s a creature of action as opposed to words. As the film goes on he does start to get a little more chatty though so I guess that’s a good thing? Unfortunately, he isn’t quite as intimidating as the average creature. In most of these horror films you see the monsters just destroying everybody until they die in the end. Since the Swamp Thing is a heroic creature, he doesn’t get the same treatment. He gets captured and beaten by the crooks. He doesn’t do a good job of taking the villains out of the equation so they always pop right back up to give him some more grief. He isn’t opposed to murder as we see him do it several times, he is always in just too much of a hurry to get away. He’s just not a very likable character. His abilities also don’t seem all that impressive in this film. He was nerfed all the way into the ground.

Alice isn’t a bad main character although she can also be a little iffy at times. For the positives, she is a fighter. Alice does put up a struggle whenever she appears and even lands in some good hits. On the other hand, she is rather slow on the uptake. Even when seeing the Swamp Thing mowing down her opponents she keeps telling him to back off. She’s certainly safer with him than without. She also has an unfortunate tendency to trip over just about everything. She probably hit the ground at least ten times. Cmon Alice, you can do better than that!

Then I have to quickly rewind to the beginning of the film to explain why the normal joe characters always fall below expectations. So you have a guy running through the swamp when a few guys with guns walk up to him. He quickly lets them disarm him and then runs. What’s the point? They’ll just shoot him down. He’s dead either way so he may as well have held on to his gun and taken one of them down with him. This is preferable for many reasons. One of which is that by firing right away you at least have the slimmest of chances to survive. Second, at least they’ll be forced to gun you down right there which is a far less painful death than the alternative. Third, you get to die with some dignity. Trying to run away in a swamp when you’re outnumbered like that won’t work. Even if it was just one guy he could shoot you once your back was turned. These hostage situations always drive me batty.

This film is a little on the violent side with people getting snapped and crunched. The main villain’s transformation scene was also shown to be as grotesque and violent as possible which is a little on the rare side for transformations. Usually you expect those to at least be a little pleasant right? The violence isn’t extremely over the top but certainly is high enough that it’s noticeable. There isn’t really animal violence if you look at the film casually, but it’s there when you drill into the specifics. The unlikable main characters were running experiments on the animals which is a no go. These animals don’t care about the science so why should they have to be used like this? The animal certainly didn’t look like it was having fun being all wet like that.

Swamp Thing also goes out of its way to make the villains unlikable. A good villain should command respect but also be fun to root for/against. None of that is here with these villains. At the most the main villain isn’t bad. He’s one of those random rich guys who wants to see the world burn. The main villain is really one of his subordinates though who chases Alice around quite a lot. Naturally he is shown to be rather depraved and of course he couldn’t just be a professional trying to earn a paycheck. I get that guys like him will typically end up being the villains since it makes sense, but it doesn’t make any of his scenes work any better.

The best character in the film is definitely the kid who owned the gas station. He was on point and could sniff out danger a mile away. It’s a shame that his gun was defective but there’s no way he could have known that. Even though he was just a kid he did a lot of work and helped get Alice to a safe place. He brought the film a level of charm and wonder that it didn’t have previously. Not enough to save the film or anything like that, but it was still neat.

Overall, Swamp Thing is definitely not a film that I would recommend. The characters aren’t all that smart and Swamp Thing himself looks quite weak. I’m glad he kept in his healing powers, but being able to fight a little more would have been great too. The film drags on a bit and the only good character got a really small amount of screen time. This is definitely one of those movies that you should skip and I’d advise you to check out some of the classic Godzilla films instead if you want to see how a creature should be portrayed. I can guarantee you that at the very least he wouldn’t go down easy like the Swamp Thing.

Overall 3/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Wonder Woman ’77 Volume 2 Review


It’s time to look at the next volume of the Wonder Woman ’77 series. Sadly this will be the end of her solo adventures but at least we will have some crossovers coming up. From the various retro DC series this one has always been very popular and probably only loses out to the Adam West show and maybe the old Superman serial but I’m inclined to say that it may edge that one out. Wonder Woman’s stories are fun and this comic is pretty solid as well with only one story being rather lackluster. It’s a good volume that I’d recommend to anyone.

The first big comic sees Clayface attack Wonder Woman’s home island. As the island is basically made on clay this becomes very dangerous. He becomes so powerful that only Wonder Woman can stand up to him. Clayface is actually very powerful so it’s nice to see him getting some good respect here. His abilities are really only limited by his imagination after all. It’s a good way to start the collection off and we’ve never really seen these two characters duke it out before.

The next comic is the weaker one as we go to an animal sanctuary where it turns out that hunters have been eradicating all of the animals. Wonder Woman goes in to help and finds out that the web of lies stretches out quite far and wide. The villains have been pretending to help the animals all along as a cover. Wonder Woman stops this madness, but not before there are some casualties. It’s handled as well as it can be I suppose, but definitely a story that could have been skipped and the volume would have been better off for it.

Next up we have a politician who has gotten quite a large following. People are defecting from the U.S. just to hang out with him on the farm. The government gets suspicious and sends in Diana Prince since there is no way that this is legit. People are giving up everything their own up to this complete stranger as well. The villains don’t like this and decide to attack. It turns out that they were using aliens to mind control the citizens which is definitely an interesting tactic. The aliens were strong but they were definitely no match for Wonder Woman.

On the next adventure we have a bunch of crooks trying to sabotage a boat. Diana and Steve are sent in undercover but how can they make a move without breaking their cover? Well it might be difficult for Steve but Diana has a lot of speed so she can handle herself pretty well. It’s a fun enough thriller story even if there isn’t much of a sense of danger here since Wonder Woman can end the threat at any time if need be. In the meanwhile she is just focusing on handling this like an agent.

Following that up is a story about a villain with psychic powers. He can mind control anyone near him and this makes him a tough threat to stop. After all Wonder Woman can’t afford to hurt his host too badly. That’s why she decides to allow herself to be mind controlled to fight him on the astral plane. It’s a pretty good plan and makes for a solid fight scene as well. This is probably the only opponent to give her a real tough fight in this series so this guy was no joke. (Clayface also gave a pretty good fight to be fair so maybe I should say the 2nd toughest fight) It’s probably the best comic of the volume. There’s quite a lot of action here.

Next up a musician accidentally scores a tape with a lot of confidential government secrets. The terrorists who initially got the tape naturally want it back now, but will they be able to get this guy to talk? Well, probably but fortunately Wonder Woman is on the case. She quickly shows up to end the threat, but it also gets complicated when a patient who is near death wants to hear the guy play. The villains still don’t have an excuse here, but the patient didn’t ask for this so the heroes allow her to hear one last song. It was a nice enough story even if the musician doesn’t seem as nervous as he should be in such a situation.

Finally we have a space mission. As always we have governments fighting each other as everyone wants to be the first in space. It appears as if the Russians have launched an attack on America, but Wonder Woman thinks that there is more to this. She infiltrates their base where they believe the same thing about the Americans. It turns out that a super villain has been manipulating everyone and this fighter has a jet pack. Wonder Woman is still able to win fairly quick, but it was a fun comic and one of the better ones. It was nice to see Wonder Woman also using some detective work to win the day.

The art is quite solid as always. It seems to change a bit from comic to comic, but there were no issues that looked bad or anything like that. The character models seem right and the fight scenes look good. At the end of the day that is the important part. The size of the collection is also pretty good as well and it manages to fit in quite a lot of stories.

Overall, This is definitely a comic that I would recommend to all readers. It has action, suspense, and doesn’t really step into any holes. I’m not sure if I’d put it above the first collection, but it’s a good sequel. I have the crossover with Batman ’66 coming up so I’m looking forward to checking that one out. Crossovers tend to be a blast and I believe the best one from the retro adventures is Batman meets Green Hornet so far. We’ll see if this one is even able to top that one.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Batman: Bad Blood Review


First off, I have to say that I was really surprised at how good this film was. DC’s animation films have been sorely dropping in quality ever since the New 52 began. I’m not counting the side films, just mainstream. Lets quickly take a trip down memory lane for them. Here are the DC animated films that I’m counting. Superman: Doomsday, Justice League New Frontier, Batman Gotham Knight, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern First Flight, Public Enemies, Crisis on Two Earths, Under The Red Hood, Apocalypse, All Star Superman, Emerald Knight, Year One, Doom, Superman and the Elite, Dark Knight Returns, Unbound, Flashpoint, War, Son of Batman, Assault on Arkham, Throne of Atlantis, Batman vs Robin, Gods and Monsters, Bad Blood. I’m not even going to count the Killing Joke and Justice League Dark. The former because I haven’t seen it and don’t plan to since the film looks so trashy and the latter since it’ll be a long time til a TV-14 version of it is up. Naturally, the film wouldn’t help DC’s case anyway since it’s as gritty as it gets.

So, Superman: Doomsday was a great film. It was a good way to kick things off. New Frontier could have been better, but it was a solid Justice League film. Gotham Knight was DC’s first miss, but they made up for it with the next two installments as Wonder Woman and Green Lantern were both very good. Public Enemies and Crisis on Two Earths were amazing and two of the best DC films of all time. Under The Red Hood and Apocalypse continued things off on a high level. All Star Superman was reasonably solid as well. It lacked in action, but had good writing. Emerald Knight was rather disappointing and Year One was pretty sad. You could argue that DC was starting to weaken at this point. Justice League Doom was good. It was a cut under the previous all stars, but it still felt right.

Next was Superman and the Elite. It’s easily one of the weaker Superman films and the animation was bad. Dark Knight Returns was truly dreadful though and it brought back the more violent roots that I was hoping to avoid. The next title (Superman Unbound) avoided this thanks to its My Little Pony styled animation. However, this was the end. We would now enter the violent era of DC films and this is where things got ugly. Flashpoint is super dark, gritty, and violent. It was a bad film that just left you shaking your head. Next was JL: War. Justice League War is a good story, but it was plagued by excessive violence all around. It’s no surprise though since this is where the New 52 started. Technically it’s not a bad film, it’s still good, but should have been far better. The next films would not have the Justice League to bail them out. Son of Batman is a gritty story where the writing just slacks off and the violence continues. Assault on Arkham is one of the worst DC films and with many villains as the main characters, you can see how it would be bad.

We went back to the Justice League next, but questionable writing and more excessive violence held it back quite a lot. Batman vs Robin kept the violence as high as it could and even threw in animal violence. Gods and Monsters is so disgraceful that I knew it would be bad 10 minutes in. It was just so disgraceful. But, there’s a silver lining now. Batman: Bad Blood has toned the violence down quite a lot and based on the trailers and clips for the next two films, it looks like things could finally be changing. Are we going back to DC’s prime in animation? It’s a possibility and one that I’m excited for. It’s fitting since the New 52 was cancelled that things would finally get back on track.

Now, lets start the actual review for this film. Batwoman is a new crime fighter in town who believes in destroying all of her opponents. She’s a villain who takes out other villains for the greater good and believes herself to be above the law. As expected, she gets in over her head and a group of villains decide to take her down. It would seem that she was just the bait to lure Batman in as he is forced to save her from Heretic and his goons which results in his capture. Batwoman must now team up with Nightwing and Damian to find and rescue the Dark Knight. Can they succeed and who is the true mastermind behind the scenes?

This film starts off with a lot of action and it never lets up. The first 10-15 minutes are effectively one long action scene. Batman and Batwoman are up against a bunch of C listers, but these guys still have decent abilities and the fight makes for a bunch of cool visuals. Also, Batman is still just a human so he can’t afford to let his guard down against anyone. While the villains may not seem all that intimidating, one good attack could always mean the end. The film did a great job of showing how Batman fights in contrast to the others though. He has no wasted movements and is easily able to handle multiple opponents by fighting very strategically. His fighting style here was focused on being defensive and launching powerful hits. I dare say that this film did a better job of illustrating that than any of the other DC films. Watch this title and see how the animators do a good job of distinguishing everyone’s fighting styles. It’s pretty impressive.

The animation is also very sharp. Some of the hand to hand scenes can maybe get a little stretchy like Talia vs Batwoman, but the style works well enough. The various colors help the contrast which is why the night scenes in particular have the best fights. The film is able to pull this off even in the day time by having the characters fight in doors. Damian vs the bulldozer guy was a good example of this. The strong sound effects and fluid animation helped this film produce some of the best fight scenes. I have Batman Beyond Return of the Joker as my favorite Batman film, but this one is really high up there as well. The main competition it would have is Under The Red Hood and Mask of the Phantasm. So, Top 3 is a real possibility, but I’ll refrain from actually placing it there for now since it could just be a knee jerk reaction of this film completely surpassing my expectations. I can’t say that I was particularly hyped for this film before watching it, but it certainly delivered.

An extra cherry on top for this film is the fact that it actually had a good soundtrack as well. Most films miss out on this nowadays, but Bad Blood has quite a few great action tunes and that helps to keep the intensity up from the start. The film may only be around 70 minutes long, but since the action never stops, it probably has more fights than most 100+ minute films.

The character cast is pretty solid as well. Batman isn’t in his right mind for most of the film, but he’s on point when he is. He’s very no nonsense the whole time and just shows up to take the villains down. He doesn’t bother with pleasantries or any of that. However, Damian was the standout here. This is how I’ve always pictured the character to act. Damian’s strong and extremely confident. The bragging works as long as he can back it up and he does a good job of it here. I don’t even mind his loss to Heretic since he was drugged first and still put up a good fight. He was trained by the League of Assassins so I expect him to be really skilled. He was a little underpowered in the first fight, but he managed to come back from that. The film couldn’t get the power levels absolutely perfect right? I’m not sure about Batwoman defeating Talia, that was a bit of a stretch. Still, I suppose she needed as least one win since that would have been sad for her fans otherwise.

I’m not really a Batwoman fan. She’s on the opposite side of the spectrum with the bragging. She talks a really good game, but ends up getting wrecked in almost all of her fights. She doesn’t last 5 seconds against Heretic and she was getting overwhelmed by the C list fighters. It wasn’t a good showing for her at all. I thinks she has the potential to be more likable than Batgirl, but she also feels like a Huntress ripoff at the same time. I guess I’ll need to wait and see what future films do with her. Nightwing’s not bad. It’s nice to see him getting more of a role in the films lately. It would be great if he had a little more confidence/arrogance like Damian though. Lately it seems like he’s completely mellowed out. That’s not bad, but it won’t help his personality.

Alfred looked really good here and his fight was one of the cool parts in the film. Bad Blood even managed to squeeze in Batwing. I haven’t read a comic with him yet, but he seems cool. He’s a not very subtle ripoff of War Machine, but as always DC managed to improve on the character. I already like him more than Rhodey. They both have a military background which explains why they can use the suits so easily, but Batwing seems far less likely to betray everyone to the government. His transformation scene was also pretty fun and definitely seemed like something out of Iron-Man. I’m definitely glad that he took the suit right away as well since a real character doesn’t wait for permission.

This aspect hurt Onyx quite a bit though. As a loyal bodyguard, I was expecting her to try and help Heretic out of at least avenge him. Part of being a good lackey is knowing when not to follow an order and that vengeance must come first. She waits way too long to do anything and that did destroy her whole character. There was nothing that she could do to exonerate herself, the time for action had passed. It was also unexpected since the film was playing it off like she was about to do something, but then decided not too. I do have to say that one other missed opportunity here was killing off Heretic before he could get a real fight. He was definitely a tough fighter so seeing him get a full fight against Nightwing or Damian would have been fun. He had a brief bout with Nightwing and to the hero’s credit, he was holding his own. The 2 on 1 fight just proved to be too much in the end.

Bad Blood is also good with the misdirects. I actually thought that Batwoman’s dad had turned evil since it would be the kind of twist that DC would turn to in the past. I’m glad that it wasn’t the case though because that would have been just plain unnecessary. He seems like a pretty good character so I’d definitely be on board with having him around in the future. That being said, sticking to the Bat cast is the best move. One of the reasons why this film was so good was because over 90% of the film stayed with the plot. Batwoman had a small subplot that was boring and acted as pointless filler, but it was probably less than 10 minutes if you combine all of the scenes. Keep the subplots as small as possible and your film will probably be a winner.

Overall, Batman Bad Blood was pretty solid. The nonstop action was good and it was just full of quality. For those of you who still want blood and intensity, there is a bit when characters are punched or stabbed, but it isn’t completely over the top and overdone like the last few films. It’s handled with a lot more dignity and composure this time around. If there’s anything that you may have a problem with, it’s that everyone seems to be breaking into the batcave these days. It did make for a decent jump scene though since I really wasn’t expecting Heretic to show up at that moment. The film was really good with having unexpected things occur. I highly recommend checking this film out. You will not be disappointed!

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Cosmic Clash Review

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It’s time for another Lego Justice League Adventure! This one is quite a step down from the last one, but lets be honest…how could it possibly have topped that one? The last one was near perfection and the series had been hitting it on all cylinders. It makes sense that it would have to slow down at some point and this was that moment. The film may not be all that long, but it didn’t feel that way and several parts slowed it down. Unfortunately, the film lost its identity, but I believe it will find it again.

Brainiac is coming to Earth and the heroes may not be able to stop him this time. This being has conquered many planets before and Earth is just to be another stepping stone for him. To ensure that the Justice League do not interfere, Brainiac erases their memories and sends them into the distant path. Specifically, he does this to Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Superman since they are the League’s heavy hitters. Batman must don the cape once more (Well, fine he already had the cape) and travel back in time to restore their memories and then come back to finish off Brainiac. Can the other members buy him some time along with the new recruit: Supergirl, or is humanity already doomed?

The film starts off very strong with the Justice League taking care of business as usual. The way that they handled the invasion was very on point and while Batman may not have been invited for hide and seek…at least the heroes were apologetic about it. I can see their side of the story as well since there is no reason for them to expect that Batman would have wanted a piece of the action right? These films are always at their best when the League is around since the banter between them is always solid.

You all know that Lego Animation isn’t my favorite so the film can’t rely on its animation to get it through to a solid score. The writing and soundtrack have to be on point. While the music isn’t quite as dynamic as some of the other films, it’s still pretty solid as it should be. What helps to make the film pretty good is that the writing is mostly good. This is also what brings it down from past films. The writing is excellent with the main Justice League members. They all look pretty great and Batman steals the show as expected. His voice actor does a tremendous job in the role and the character just has all of the best moments. Unfortunately, the writing falters with Brainiac and Supergirl. I feel like the film overplayed its hand with those two.

Supergirl’s personality is a little different than usual as she’s all about being a cheer leader and constantly cheers throughout the film. “Give me a D and an O and O and M” for example as she keeps on punching out villains and this gets old the very first time that she did it. As she continues on and on…it just doesn’t help matters. I can’t say that I really liked her in this film and she joins Cyborg as a member of the team who doesn’t really feel like she’s there yet. It was a fun in joke though as Cyborg was basically cut off during his big montage moment by the others. All of the main Leaguers got their own big moment inspired by the animated Justice League’s intro, but Cyborg had to share with someone and it only lasted for an instant. I forgot who he had to share with though.

As for Brainiac, he’s maybe a little too silly at times. His dialogue isn’t crafty and subtlety funny like the League members and just goes for more of the obvious jokes. His banter with the other Brainiacs is cool though and managing to see through their ruse was actually pretty impressive. I guess we know why he is the brains of the operation right? He can’t fight the others in hand to hand combat, but he had a lot of robots to make for a bit of a climax. His plan was good at any rate since erasing the memories of the heroes was basically fool proof. It’s just that Batman exists so no plan is ever completely fool proof.

As for the Batman plot, I only liked one out of the three time travel adventures. Wonder Woman’s will be clear as to why I didn’t like it. Batman warps back to the Caveman era so the locale is pretty bad and I don’t care for everyone speaking like a Caveman. It was interesting to see Wonder Woman show her true colors and murder all of the men though. They were asking for it so I won’t really object. Luckily Batman was around to set things straight. Green Lantern’s also dragged on, but not nearly as much. I did like how they incorporated the meme of Batman riding a shark and he just acted pretty hardcore the whole time. I’m not sure about Batman being caught so easily though. The pirates should have been thoroughly outclassed. These two segments are what held down the film to an extent, but at least the final segment helped to make up for it.

Batman winds up in an apocalyptic future that will remind you of Future’s End. Superman is now working for Brainiac so Batman must take him down yet again to prove once and for all who the strongest crime fighter is. Batman won’t even resort to Kryponite because deep down…he’s never needed it! It’s a pretty intense fight and we even have the Legion of Superheroes show up. This was definitely a fun part of the film and I’m always eager to see Batman and Superman go at it. It’s a match-up that never gets old and seeing as how they’re the best characters in all of DC Comics, it’s easy to see why.

If anything, I’d just like to see more of the League next time. When I mentioned that the film lost its identity, it’s that the plot just wasn’t worth it. Having the League sent to different eras ensured that we couldn’t see the whole team for very long. It meant that we only had the D listers in the main plot as Batman tried to gather up everyone in the B Plot. The film is at its best when the League is bantering and making fun of the villains as they humiliate them. We didn’t get much of a chance of that here, but at least we did learn that while Superman is one of the greatest Hide and Seek players, Batman is the best. Just about all of the really funny moments involve Batman, Superman, or the League as a whole. Removing that aspect also ensures that you’re removing a critical piece of the film.

Overall, This is still a solid film though and one that I’d recommend. Other titles like Teen Titans GO can learn a thing or two from this one on how to do humor effectively. Specifically, look at Batman. I can’t stress enough just how good he is and this is one of those cases where he is even better than Superman. Batman gets all of the best lines and character development as well as some of the best action scenes. He’s always got a good plan even if nobody ever listens to him. I don’t know where the League would be without him, but it’s safe to say that the group wouldn’t be nearly as potent. I look forward to seeing which Lego Justice League film comes out next. It’s a series that I hope doesn’t end anytime soon as there are still many stories to tell.

Overall 7/10

8 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Batman Beyond Review

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It’s time for the final main show in the DCAU lineup. I still haven’t seen the Zeta Project or Static Shock yet so those two won’t be getting reviewed for quite a while. I’ll probably be watching them at some point though. Batman Beyond took a very different approach to the Batman mythos and it certainly worked well. I imagine it was probably pretty controversial back in the day and I can only imagine the reaction it would get nowadays. Still, that’s why you have to take a chance sometimes since it can pay off very well.

Batman Beyond takes place well after the events of the original Batman show. Bruce Wayne started to get older and suffered heart problems. He was forced to take off the Cape and cowl. (The final movie in the series has a plot twist so old age wasn’t the cause for Batman’s retirement, but that’s another story) Gotham City has completely reverted back to how it was before Batman showed up. Crooks are everywhere and the civilians are all scared out of their minds. Terry is a teenager who has grown up in this era and has developed into a tough individual who can look out for himself. One day, his father is murdered by the Joker gang so he decides to steal the Batman suit to avenge him. Wayne is reluctant to agree at first, but gets on board and that’s how Terry becomes Batman for the rest of the series. He may not be the genius that Bruce was, but Bruce assists him through a communicator which makes that a non issue. Terry was also already a fighter so we don’t have to watch him act like a total rookie. He handles his tenure as Batman very well.

Terry is the main character and for the most part he is a great lead. While he may not have Bruce’s charisma, he has the passion and hot headed nature that most great anime characters possess. His first episode was a little rough as he was acting out quite a bit, but a tragic attack forced him to mature a lot in that regard. He always sticks up for the weak and keeps his emotions in control when it counts. Terry has no shortage of confidence either and is never afraid to go up against an opponent, even if Batman thinks he should wait. Like Peter Parker, (A character who has a lot of similarities to Terry) Terry has to deal with a lot of romance drama, but it never becomes the main theme of the show or a priority to the point where it would take away from the plot. I was definitely satisfied with having him as the main character.

Bruce Wayne may not be Batman anymore, but he is still rich and retained his intellect. Batman was never feared purely for his amazing hand to hand combat. His genius is what also intimidated opponents. It can be frustrating to see him so old and unable to defeat opponents like Inque, but at least he continues to try so you have to give him points there. That’s why it was cool to see him turn young again in the Ra’s episode since he got to finally fight at peak strength again. The show even managed to give him a stronger sound effect than Terry’s to show the difference in power. Bruce was only a little unlikable in the first episode and you can understand his reasoning for wanting the Batman legacy to die. The last thing he wants is for another ally to bite the big one. Terry wasn’t even formally trained so he would be in a lot of danger. I can get that, but shutting down Terry’s suit while he was being attacked was going a little overboard. Not to mention that sending Terry away without any real help was also pretty bad since he was essentially helping the villains by doing that. Letting Powers steal the company is also something that is hard to picture for such a strong willed individual. I guess you can say that Bruce also regains his old spark while Terry learns how to be Batman. We also can’t forget that he has a real cool guard dog by the name of Ace. I didn’t care for Ace’s episode as it was one of the iffy ones, but he’s definitely a great character. Ace is fearless and never backs away from an enemy. Terry was lucky to have him around quite a few times.

Max is one of Terry’s friends. She has good hand to hand skills and after she finds out his secret, she helps out in the background a lot like Oracle. The heroes are always hesitant to accept her help, but by the end she is one of the gang. She did give us the weakest two part event with the King Cobra villain, but you can’t really blame the character for that. Max was a solid supporting character and I’m sure that her role would have grown more f we had gotten another season since the heroes were working with her more.

Dana is the main heroine of the show. She is around to give Terry a reason to have a daily life, which prevents him from being Batman close to 24/7 like Bruce. Bruce was always in the Batman mindset at any rate I’d say. Dana is pretty reasonable for the most part and there is certainly less drama than some other super hero romances like Mary Jane and Spider-Man. I’m definitely on Dana’s side more than Terry’s for the show since she was always loyal while Terry did cheat on her with someone else. He broke it off fairly quick, but it shows that he went on the rebound fairly quick. It would have been cool to have seen Dana get a crime fighting suit, but I suppose every supporting character doesn’t have to turn out to be a fighter. Dana is smarter than some of the other characters as well since she actually put the pieces together about Terry’s mysterious disappearances.

Barbara Gordon lost a lot of her personality in the transition to the new era and has become another pencil pusher with no real idea of what goes on in the field. The worst part is that she knows who Batman is so she can effectively blackmail the heroes. It is definitely annoying but luckily Batman is always ready for things like this and Barbara got a fairly small role in the show. It’s a shame, but I guess some superheroes lose their likability after they hand the costume in. Powers is really the main villain of the series. There are other recurring villains of course, but Powers is the only one who lasted a full season. He would show up a lot in both major and minor roles. Powers even got special abilities of his own that made him a real threat. The radiation that he emits would allow him to beat many foes despite a difference in power. Sure, he would lose to a really strong foe, but he would give them cancer so it would essentially be a draw. He was a good villain to have since having someone who’s not one and done is always a good thing.
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Inque was another villain who shows up a few times and I thought that she was definitely better than most of the others. Her powers make her a really powerful threat to Batman. It’s hard to capture her or to even land any damage because of how she can almost become liquid. Electricity is her only weakness and even then you have to be careful how you handle her. Forcing Batman to swallow her was definitely one of the most traumatic moments of the series I’d say since it looked quite painful. Mr Freeze is one of the few old villains who shows up in Beyond. His fate is rather tragic here as he was a head for many years and once he finally gets his body back, he is promptly betrayed. He really wanted to turn over a new leaf and become a good person, but it wasn’t to be. The betrayal made him go off the edge once more and then he lost his motivation to go on. He was easily one of the best “villains” here and it’s too bad that he couldn’t have a happy ending.

Shriek had a cool design. I figured that was worth giving him a quick write up here. He’s basically a generic villain otherwise. There’s not much to him otherwise. Kobra is a fairly annoying villain who took over the big villain organization at a young age. He’s just that much of a prodigy I suppose, but he went from being a fairly decent rival/classmate to being a generic villain. Now, Ra’s is a more interesting opponent. Granted, his method of kidnapping Bruce Wayne and going about his plan was rather off. He could have planned things out a bit better and then maybe his plan would have been successful. It was still neat to see how he had survived all of these years though. He certainly was a very cunning opponent for the dark knight.

The Royal Flush Gang went after Batman a few times. This show’s Ten got the biggest role out of all the members. They made for good opponents because while they were weak individually, they were a threat as a group. Defeating Batman with sheer numbers was always their plan, even if it wasn’t always an effective one. I like the designs and the concept is fun too. They’re just rich people with a bunch of time on their hands so why not become thieves right?

Finally, we also had the Justice League show up. Their members may not be as impressive as the ones you’re used too, but they can still deal some damage. Superman is still around and while his powers have lessened over the years, he’s still quite powerful. He’s as smart and dependable as always even if his will power isn’t quite as good as it should be. I do like his Justice Lords design, but I do have to wonder why he would ever don that costume. It certainly makes you wonder. Aquagirl’s probably the only super nice member of the group and she does her best to help Batman fit in with the others. She doesn’t seem to be all that powerful when it comes to combat though. Green Lantern comes off as rather annoying and is easily my least favorite GL. He doesn’t appear to have a great imagination and his voice just got on my nerves. It’s easy to see how he died in Justice League. Warhawk is basically a male version of Hawkgirl. He’s loud and talks a good game, but he’s not all that strong. The design was good though and at least he did have enough strategic awareness to come up with a plan when things started to get out of control. I’d say that this already makes him a better character than Hawkgirl for me. Big Barda’s another tough member who doesn’t like Batman. It should come as no surprise that Batman was eager to get away from the team as soon as possible. Lets face it, there was no reason for him to stay somewhere where he’s not wanted.

Lets take a look at some of the episodes of Batman Beyond. Naturally, the opening two parter was a lot of fun. It got a high budget and started the whole series off. It was very fast paced and I was satisfied with the origin. It’s sad that gangs can break in and out so easily in Gotham, but the city has always been like that so it’s not too surprising. The place has always been corrupt and that’s why Batman is always needed. A Gotham without any crime fighters is a very scary place indeed.

There was an episode with a homage to the Fantastic Four as an experiment went wrong (Don’t they always?) and a group of individuals got super powers. It was nice to see how the FF would fare in a DC world and needless to say, it goes as you’d expect. They can’t really handle Batman, but it made for some nice battle scenes. Another good episode was Inque’s debut. As mentioned, she’s an interesting villain and a very deadly one. Batman really had to think fast in order to keep up with her. Since she also ends up finding the Batcave, the heroes have to think about making the place even more secure. Not that it worked as Return of the Joker showed us…

The Mr. Freeze episode is golden. His fight with Powers was a lot of fun. Now, I think Powers should definitely have the edge here and he was winning, but it was good to see Mr. Freeze put up a fight. Powers’ brief fight with Batman was also good. The episode just had a lot of action throughout and the animation was stellar. It’s the kind of episode that you could even watch directly after the first Batman series since it’s a sequel in part to the original. It’s a tragic episode, but an enjoyable one.

Another episode saw the debut of Curare, a skilled assassin. I forgot if the show explicitly said that she was from the League of Assassins, but if not, then an equivalent organization anyway. Her skills were certainly very good and as she has never failed an assignment before, Batman really had to be careful here. By the end she has to watch her back as well since the League is after her, but given her track record, she should be able to hold her own right? Well, that’s exactly what happens as she appears in another episode and we find out that she simply got rid of the organization. That’s why you probably shouldn’t try to destroy your best agent on a whim like that. Both episodes were great and some of the best in the series.

Lost Soul was a pretty interesting episode as someone takes over the Batman suit so Terry must used his hand to hand skills without backup for a change. It’s a fun change of pace since we don’t get to see Terry do a lot of formal sleuthing. He does check things out in his alter ego, but seeing him stick to the shadows is rare. Back to a more conventional episode, Terry is challenged by The Stalker. The Stalker wants to destroy Batman to prove that he can hunt anyone. Unfortunately, he’s bitten off more than he can chew and starts to suffer delusions by the end. Batman completely broke him. The Stalker made for a good enemy though. Babel was another fun episode as Shriek eliminates language. Nobody can understand each other now so that makes Batman’s job a lot harder. He’s got to find Shriek without Bruce’s help. It’s tough, but Terry never gives up so he’s got this.

Another solid episode is when Spellbinder frames Batman for murder. Barbara Gordan is very quick to jump on this so Batman must dodge the official lines and find a way to win. I believe that Mad Stan was also in this episode. I forgot to mention him earlier, but he’s easily one of the best villains in the entire series. I’m being serious here folks, Mad Stan is just amazing. He’s a conspiracy guy who is always yelling and talking a good game. Tell me with a straight face that he doesn’t sound amazing. It’s just not possible. He’s easily one of the funniest figures in the show.

Sneak Peek is a good episode where a reporter learns how to go intangible. Unfortunately, this slowly corrupts him since the powers were too much and he ultimately meets a sad fate. Batman got lucky here since he was completely out of his league by the end. Seriously, there was basically nothing that he could do against this guy since no attack would work. It’s why nobody likes dealing with intangible foes. Repeller had a villain who couldn’t be touched. He had a barrier around him at all times. This guy was also crazy strong and Terry needed some luck to take him out. It’s always been a fun concept and the original X-Men comics had a villain named Unus with the same ability. It’s not used too often though because of how overly powerful it is. Finally, Where’s Terry is another good episode as we see Max and Bruce be the main characters instead of Batman for a change. It plays out like a mystery as they follow a lot of clues to see where Batman is. The episode is a little embarrassing for Terry, but you can’t win em all right?

The show’s animation holds up very well to this day. The futuristic look ensures that it looks about as good as Justice League despite airing sooner. The colors are very good and everything is sleek. Batman’s suit is better than a lot of the redesigns that you see nowadays and is still one of Batman’s best costumes. It may be the best besides the classic DCAU one. (Yes, Batman had 2, so I’m talking about the Justice League one) Likewise, the soundtrack is excellent and one of the best that you will hear in a show. Certainly the best in western animation. It’s just hard to get better than this since every theme is very fast paced and techno. It fits the future environment very well. It also goes without saying that the writing is very solid in this show. It’s the DCAU so you’ve probably come to expect this by now, but it’s still a nice credit to its resume. Nowadays, shows would do a lot to grab writing as solid as this.
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Overall, Batman Beyond is a great show. It did a good job of showing what it would be like to be Batman in a future DC universe. It was dark toned throughout, but it was usually not dark for the sake of it and never got super violent or anything like that. There may have been one or two episodes that went a little too far with that, but they were few and far between. The average episode was very solid and this is a series that I recommend to all action fans and especially to DC fans. It’s the next generation of Batman, how can you afford to miss it? Even if you don’t ultimately end up finding Batman Beyond to be more likable than the original, you should end up being a fan by the end. To be fair, Bruce Wayne is still the definitive Batman for me as well, but I actually like Terry more than all of the Robins in the DCAU. He was just written really well.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom Review

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That title’s a mouthful eh? I thought about shortening it, but this is how I formatted the previous films so I may as well keep it in. Also, I’ve published other posts with long names in the past so it’s not all that new. This may be surprising to hear, but Attack of the Legion of Doom is easily the best Lego film out there. It beats The Lego film and even all of the other DC titles. I don’t see this one being surpassed to be honest since it really hits all of the right notes. This is Lego as it was always meant to be.

The Justice League have effectively ended all crime. The villains have not been able to get anything going since they are always outgunned. Lex Luthor decides to fix this problem by making his own group…the Legion of Doom! He holds tryouts to see who will join his legendary group. In the end, the roster includes Gorilla Grodd, Sinestro, Lex Luthor, Black Manta, Cheetah, and a few others. The League will have to fight extra hard if they want to beat this well knit team, but they have some problems of their own. Batman was voted as the leader of the Justice League, dethroning Superman and raising tensions among the rest of the team. Cyborg is also dealing with some drama so this is the perfect time for the Legion of Doom to strike!

There is one major reason above all others as to why this is the best Lego special. Lego specials don’t really do much in terms of fight scenes because they are comedies above all else. There may be the occasional fight, but typically they are short and not really played seriously. That’s not the case in this special as we actually get some extended fight scenes and they are played completely (90% anyway) seriously. These are fight scenes that you could picture actually looking really good with another animation style. DC wasn’t pulling its punches this time. One scene in particular that looked good was when Batman used his secret punch on Black Manta. These kinds of action scenes you would not usually see in Lego.

Another feather in this film’s hat is the soundtrack. The music themes are a little hard to describe. I’d say that they have a bit of a party theme to them. It’s easy to jam to the beat as you watch the heroes and villains duke it out. The themes are very fast paced and definitely a lot of fun to listen too. It is easily the best soundtrack in all of Lego and that’s considering the fact that The Lego Movie had a fairly decent soundtrack as well. When you consider how good the music was and the fact that the action scenes were so solid, it is easy to see why this is the best Lego film.

Meanwhile, the Lego graphics are about what you’d expect from now. I still consider this to be one of the weakest animation styles out there, but it is what it is. It looks like your average Lego film so at least there is a lot of consistency there. It’s not better than usual or worse than usual. It simply fills the bill and moves on.

One of the main plots is that nobody really thinks Cyborg is League material. He begins to doubt it as well when he constantly puts the team in danger so that’s a cause for some tension. It’s a great plot because that’s what we all thought when the New 52 tried to force Cyborg on us as a Justice League member. I’m sorry folks, but he’ll always be a Teen Titan to me. Dick Grayson, Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy are in the same boat. You can throw them on other teams like the Outlaws or the Doom Patrol, but they’ll always be Teen Titans when it counts. Cyborg really tries, but he simply can’t keep up with the rest of the team.

As per usual, Batman steals the show here although Superman is a decently close second. Batman taking charge of the League was great and he even reminds us that he is the brains of the operation on many occasions. He is the only one who saw through just about all of the plot twists in the film and he held his own when it came time to fight. He was also smart enough to realize that leaving the planet while there were still a lot of villains there was not a wise move, even if Superman overruled him there. Batman’s the ultimate solo act and without him the League would be finished. The films have done a good job of taking a comical spin on his personality traits, but not taking the bad ones and making them worse. (Teen Titans Go) Rather, they’ve taken his better qualities and made them even better.

Likewise, it is good to see Superman’s ultra heroism at work here. He is so fair and just that he naturally assumed that he could not vote for himself in the election. He knows that the system works after all and he always manages to get in some one liners as he fights crime. Naturally, there is no fear of the other villains within him since Superman is all but invincible so he grins for just about the whole film. There is some kryptonite towards the end, but Superman definitely doesn’t go down without a fight.

Flash and Green Lantern spend the whole film fighting over Wonder Woman so I can’t say that they handled things all that well. This is an example of a quality that I was hoping would not be dramatized. Wonder Woman’s role is fairly minimal as she tries to ignore Flash and and GL whenever possible although it’s not always easy. As for the villains, they’re all fairly accurate here. It’s easy to sympathize with the Trickster a little since the heroes intentionally mess with him quite a bit. Sinestro is easily shown to be one of the smarter villains from the get go which was good. He certainly deserves the title more than the others. Lex Luthor called the shots as expected and he insulted Gorilla Grodd quite a bit, which could be a subtle reference. Deathstroke also gets a quick cameo, which was handled very well. His fans are sure to be pleased.

Make sure you stick around for the end of the film by the way since it hints at big things to come. I’m certainly ready to see this plot actually happen since it has been set up for quite a while now. Seeing the big villain at the end arrive to fight the Justice League will be a blast. If the writers are able to handle it well like they did here, we’ll be in for quite the show. I still doubt it will be able to beat this film, but I’m ready to see what they do with it here.

Overall, Even if Lego films are not your thing, this is a film that I would recommend. The writing is very good as is the soundtrack. The Justice League members look solid for the most part and the fact that we actually get some fight scenes here is just an added bonus. The film is also fairly short as well so it is not like you would lose a lot of your time by giving this one a shot. You can say that you’ve seen Lego at its peak and if this doesn’t help you become a Superman fan, nothing will! (It’s a great answer to Batman V Superman as well folks since they both get to trade witty banter and try to out think each other with their very different views on how to handle a situation)

Overall 8/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Green Lantern Volume 4 Dark Days Review

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Time to continue the Green Lantern saga although it unfortunately does take a bit of a step down from the last arc. The first half is relatively down to Earth, which isn’t bad, but I don’t really care for the villain. The second half pops up out of nowhere and it’s pretty interesting. I definitely wouldn’t have minded that being the main part of the arc since things get cosmic once again. This plot sound intriguing to you? Well, let’s jump in!

Hal Jordan is alarmed to find out that the Power Rings are not working very well. It nearly costs the Green Lanterns everything in their fight against Larfleeze. Hal doesn’t need this extra stress because things aren’t going very well between him and Carol Ferris. The source of the ring issues are with an all powerful being known as Relic. Due to tie ins and other plot lines, he really pops up nowhere in this series. He’s suddenly in a portal vision kind of thing so Hal charges in to help along with Star Sapphire and most of the other Lantern types. This even includes the Red Lanterns.

Relic is an ancient being who was once just an ordinary guy. Unfortunately, his reality blew up because the universe ran out of light. After dying many times over, he found out that the universe inevitably ends because of the Lantern corps. The energies from their rings actually come from a big well in the Source Wall. He took it upon himself to take down all of the Lanterns to prevent them from ever using the energies again so he is storing them inside of these machines and then plans to bring it to the wall to replenish the well. It’s actually a fairly well thought out plan. He’s even made himself immune to the Lanterns through his high tech equipment and expendable drones. Hal has a tough choice to make since stopping Relic could mean the end of the universe, but not stopping him will mean that the Guardians of the Galaxy (That’s what the Corps do) will be powerless.

Well, no worries, Kyle and friends are here to help. Kyle remembers that he is essentially all powerful and steps into help by going through the wall and then Relic also gets stuck inside. That’s one threat down and Kyle is effectively written out of the plot for a while. At least that means there is less drama between him and Carol. It was a short, but good arc. Relic made for an incredibly powerful villain. He couldn’t quite top Volthoom, but it is cool how DC keeps on throwing in more cosmically powerful guys in the GL series.

Sadly, this experience basically traumatized Hal Jordan and he has decided to make it his job to stop Lantern users from using the rings unless absolutely necessary. Carol warns him that this is a bad idea since the Green Lanterns will essentially be making the laws without any say from the other colors and that will just lead to a tyranny. Hal doesn’t want to hear it though and it looks like the various colors may be gearing up for yet another war….that’s just great. Keep in mind that the well didn’t run out until several thousands of years had passed so these measures are rather extreme.

Moreover, the rings are necessary and there’s no way that Hal can police the entire galaxy. If anything, he’s just going to weaken the team’s morale. Already quite a few members have quit, granted those characters are all pretty cheap. It’s still not good to start talking about getting rid of the rings or limiting one’s use during a fight. That’s the last situation where you will want to be holding back since it can be the difference between life and death. After the Relic arc, there was a quick little scuffle as Hal and Kilowog apprehended a Star Sapphire who had evaded them earlier, but let her go in exchange for capturing her clan. It was an intriguing move, but technically one that saved them all some bloodshed so maybe it was worth it. I didn’t care much for the Star Sapphire as a villain as she mainly just messed with Hal’s emotions the whole time and didn’t strike me as much of a fighter.

The whole situation is pretty sad for Hal since Carol friendzoned him out of nowhere and basically traded up for Kyle. This will be good for Hal in the long run, but in the short term he’s definitely not taking it well. At least now he can focus on being the leader of the GL Corps in the meantime, which is another subplot. The Guardians realized that they messed up one too many times so they’re taking a step back for a while. Hal should make for a good leader, especially since he doesn’t care much for rules. That’s why it’s alarming to see him act so drastic about the rings issue.

Things are tough for Guy Gardner as well since he was sent to be a Red Lanterns member while undercover and became their leader. The place is very savage so Guy has to always be watching his back or it’ll be game over. With Hal set on taking away their rings, Guy’s going to have to come to blows with his old partner. Kyle got a huge power up here as he controlled all of the powerful ring entities for a brief period of time and he’s gone on another mysterious quest. It’s a shame that we don’t see Kyle as a fighter too often anymore since he’s always acting as an all powerful sage. It comes with the territory I guess.

Geoff Johns isn’t writing the comic anymore so I’m sure that the new writer has a lot of changes planned. Hopefully most of them are good, but I’m definitely not a big fan of the increased romance thus far or the new Lanterns who were just recruited since they don’t seem to be likable characters. John Stewart may become more of a main character though so that’ll be cool. I also like the fact that the Green Lanterns live on Mogo now instead of Oa. Having a home world that can actually defend and fight back is quite useful. Not to mention the fact that it can actually move.

As always, the art was extremely good for Green Lantern. The colors leap off of the page and it makes all of the fight scenes very exciting to watch. Space fights are usually awesome, but it still takes skill to not get sloppy during the action scenes and just throw energy blasts all over the place. The character designs are on point and everything feels right artistically. While the Star Sapphire wasn’t my favorite opponent, she did have some decent fights. The battle against the Orange Lanterns was great as well and likewise for the Relic fight. It had a cosmic feel to it that’s always great to see.

Overall, This was a good Green Lantern comic even if it could have been better. Things will get trickier for the heroes before the situation gets better so they better buckle up for a tough ride. It’s similar to how everything went wrong for Peter Parker in Next Chapter for the start of the series before things eventually smoothed out. I can see why writers want to start the heroes off in a tough situation as long as it isn’t at the expense of character development. I recommend this volume and it has a lot of action consistently throughout the adventure. I’m just wondering where Simon Baz is at this point. Also, how will Green Lantern balance his days as leader of the Corps and being back to active duty in the Justice League? Should be interesting that’s for sure. Either way, no matter who is writing the series (So far) Green Lantern is still the best space adventure series in all of comics and I don’t see him leaving that position. Even more controversially, I may consider him to be the strongest cosmic hero in all of comics…but that’s a story for another day.

Overall 7/10

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Batman Attack of the Man-Bat Review

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It’s been a while since I read a book that wasn’t an anime based (Well, novels came first, but I watched the anime before reading the novels) or was about comic book characters. I should probably get back to regular novels soon, but that’s in the distant future since it would just be too overwhelming at the moment. Not to fear though, these DC books have the action that you’re looking for and working with an established franchise has its perks. The book is very short and you can read it cover to cover in a very short amount of time. As a result, it makes this a fairly short review to write.

Some citizens have been concerned about a mysterious bat monster that has kidnapped many people and seems to get a new victim each night. Batman hears about this and looks into the matter, only to find out that it’s his old enemy, Man Bat. Man Bat is a very tricky foe so Batman can’t afford to pull his punches and he’ll have to outsmart him. Unfortunately, someone was also poisoned during this crisis so Batman has to enlist Poison Ivy’s help in order to cure him. Poison Ivy has never been a big fan of humanity so Batman knows that it is a risk to ask for her help, but he’s Batman so he can take care of himself.

It’s a quick story and it’s always interesting to read a book as opposed to a comic since extra details are given. Books have to spend time describing the scenery and telling us what the characters are doing since we can’t see it for ourselves. That being said, the book does have about a dozen or so pages to illustrate some of the events that are happening, but the point remains. It’s a fun thing about books while not necessarily being much of a positive or a negative. It’s there and it has to be there, but it’s an aspect that does take up a lot of time and makes the actual adventure feel a lot shorter.

Poison Ivy gets a solid role here as she helps out in a critical moment and shows that some villains can still do good deeds once in a while. I’d actually argue that she would have been out of character if Ivy had not helped out in the end since this does help to further her own goals. It would have been counter productive not to have helped. Unfortunately, Man Bat is not a very interesting villain so I would have preferred for the big antagonist to have been someone else. There’s just nothing interesting about Man Bat. He’s a guy who can turn into a bat…that’s about as unoriginal as you can get where villains are concerned. I just don’t fullllly understand the reasoning behind making the character so important in the Batman franchise, but that’s neither here nor there.

The writing in the book is good and the font is in a nice size which makes for easy reading. It’s been a while since I read the other Batman and Superman books, but this one can reasonably hold its own against them. It lacks the same amount of action that some of the others had, but it’s interesting enough compared to the average book that I can give it a solid seven. There are no real negatives to be had here and the book even deals with helping the environment, which is always a nice plus. As everyone in New York can testify, the weather has been very wonky as of late and climate change seems to be speeding up. Wayne Industries is helping out and others can now join in so that the DC universe is protected from this. I wonder if Stark Industries can say the same.

Overall, This is a fun Batman book. It would have been neat if we had gotten some more villains and heroes into the story, but then the actual book would have certainly needed to be extended a little. The short length of the book likely limited its options, which is why you have to consider the trade off between size and content. You can easily read this on a rainy day and I can’t speak for the going rate of this book as I read it via the library, but I’m sure that the price is reasonable, although you should check if your local library has it just in case.

Overall 7/10